KANSAS CITY, Kansas. It’s 6:30 p.m., and Anson Myers has a looming deadline for the thrice-weekly column he writes for the Kansas City, Kansas Sentinel. He hasn’t written a word yet, but he doesn’t appear nervous.
“How about a new bike story? You haven’t done one of those for months.”
“Ten years ago I would have been tearing my hair out right about now,” he says after sticking out his tongue at his editor, who is lurking beside Myers’ desk. “That was before I got my family life under control.”
Plenty of raw material.
When Myers first became a columnist he made his name writing treacly stories about his kids that are typical fare at newspapers across the country. “I realized that those vignettes about a lost baseball glove or a new puppy were pure gold, but I couldn’t keep mining the same vein forever,” Myers notes. “Once your kid turns 15, he’s good for a few years of coming-of-age columns, then he’s pretty much worthless.”
So Myers decided to try polygamy, and took four additional wives in eight years. He now has a total of twenty children, and is never at a loss for material.
“You want touching? I got touching coming out the wazoo. You want bittersweet–I got bittersweet like Heinz has pickles,” he says with a laugh before banging out an 800-word column on a daughter’s dance recital in less than fifteen minutes.
Springtime is dance recital time!
There is little jealousy among Myers’ four later spouses, but his first wife Tonya and their only son Tim seem resentful that they’ve been displaced just so that he can have a steady stream of anecdotes. “Dad says I’ve got no one to blame but myself,” says Tim, now 27. “One time he wrote a column about a goldfish of mine who died, and I made him promise he’d never do it again. So he went out and had 19 more children.”
For his part, Myers understands the pain his decision has caused his first family, but says he’s only doing what’s necessary in order to put food on the table. “Timmy was seven at the time,” Myers notes. “I coulda told him that contracts with minors are unenforceable.”
Available in Kindle format on amazon.com as part of the collection “Kids: They’re Cute When They’re Young.”